Hollywood icon Sidney Poitier has died, aged 94

7 January 2022, 15:34

Sidney Poitier
Sidney Poitier. Picture: Alamy

By Tom Eames

Hollywood legend Sidney Poitier has passed away at the age of 94.

Sidney Poitier was the first Black winner of the Best Actor Oscar for his work on Lilies of the Field.

The actor grew up in the Bahamas, but was granted US citizenship after being born unexpectedly in Miami while his parents were visiting the US.

He relocated to America when he was aged 15, and landed his first film role in 1955's Blackboard Jungle.

Sidney was first nominated for an Oscar in 1958 for The Defiant Ones, and soon made history with his Oscars win six years later.

His other famous roles included Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Porgy and Bess and To Sir, With Love opposite Lulu.

Sidney Poitier With his Oscar in 1964
Sidney Poitier With his Oscar in 1964. Picture: Getty

After Denzel Washington became only the second Black actor to win the prize in 2001 for Training Day, he paid tribute to Sidney, saying at the time: “I’ll always be chasing you, Sidney. I’ll always be following in your footsteps. There’s nothing I would rather do, sir.”

Just earlier this week, Denzel spoke of his sadness he had never made a movie with Sidney, saying: “God bless him – He’s still here, but yeah, I missed that opportunity."

Sidney Poitier was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974.

Sidney was married to Juanita Hardy from 1960 to 1965, and Joanna Shimkus from 1976 to his death. He is survived by six children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.